The Olympic Games always seem to ignite an excitement in so many of us. For two weeks, the athletic dreams of our youth are thrust back into the forefront of our consciousness. As we watch the world’s greatest athletes compete on an international stage, we are often moved to tears by tales of the human spirit overcoming obstacles with sacrifice and hard work, just to earn an opportunity to represent their country on the Olympic Team. These tales resonate with the Little Olympian that still lies within each of us.
I know it does for me.
That “one” Olympic moment that calls us to action is different for everyone. Some swimmer will use Michael Phelps record-setting 22 medals as motivation. Somewhere a double-amputee has tears in her eyes watching South African Blade Runner Oscar Pistorious compete among the world’s elite two-legged runners. U.S. Beach Volleyball stars Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsch’s ‘Three-peat “ for Olympic gold gave inspirational performances. How about Gabby the Flying Squirel? Or Jamaican Usain Bolt‘s unprecedented double win in the 100m/200m. How about that commercial with the fat kid running down the country road?
My first moment came in 1976 when Alberto Juanterena won both the 400 and 800 meter races. The Cuban sprinter is the only runner ever to win gold medals in both events in the same Olympic Games. It seemed an impossible feat, but he made it happen.
I was a sprinter. On my high school track team my specialty was the 440 yard dash; one lap around the track. Yes, yards. This was way back in the 70’s when races were run on clay tracks and measured in yards. Although Damien was a small school, with a small track (318 yards I recall), we had a good track program. In 1975, as a sophomore, I made the Mile Relay Team (4 X 440) that took third place and the Bronze Medal in the Hawaii High School State Championship. The following year our team took Silver, and I had recorded my personal best quarter-mile race at 50.1 seconds. Though I had high hopes for my senior year, football injury disrupted my own goals of breaking the “50-point” barrier. I never made it.
Here in 2012, Jamaican Runner Usain Bolt provided my inspirational moment. His Gold Medal wins in the 100, 200 and 4 x 100 relay were pretty good, but the Olympic moment that got my juices flowing and brought tears to my eyes was the Tweeted picture of him partying with Swedish Women’s Handball Team at 3:00 AM.
Wow! I want to be like that!
Even with accounting for time zone differences, yards-to-meters conversions and potential language barriers – that is pretty freaking impressive. So impressive, I have been inspired to write down my new Olympic goal:
“Party with Swedish Women’s Handball Team – Rio, 2016” .
This is my formal announcement of my bid to become an official member of the U.S Olympic Team for the 2016 Games.
I know there may be some barriers (I will, after all, be 57 when the Olympics roll into Rio); but with new technology (another total knee replacement by then), my high school medals, a favorable yards to meters conversion in the 400 (49.8 seconds), I think the sky’s the limit!
Please support me in making this MY Olympic moment! With your help, my story may bring tears and inspire the young athletes of tomorrow!
Rio 2016 – Here I come!